Masik Shivratri on January 20, 2023•
Posted on January 20 2023
Masik Shivratri is a propitious day among Hindus and a sacred day for Hindus. This day occurs once every month on the 14th night of Krishna Paksha or dark fortnight that occurs on the night prior to new moon day or Amavasya. Masik Shivratri is said to be a favourable day to worship Lord Shiva.
Devotees worship the god on this day to gain His eternal blessings and be bestowed with inner peace. Masik Shivratri is also referred to by other names such as Mini Shivratri or Mass Shivratri by worshippers of the lord. Hindus believe that it is very auspicious if this day falls on a Monday as this is the day dedicated to Lord Shiva.
There are various tales in Hindu mythology that narrate why Masik Shivratri is celebrated. All the legends are centred around Lord Shiva.
Legends Related to Masik Shivratri
One interesting legend is pertaining to celebrating the selfless act of Lord Shiva when the Milky Ocean was churned. According to this story, both devas and asuras churned the Milky Ocean or Samudra Manthan using the deadly snake Vasuki to obtain the pot of elixir to gain immortality. When the churning became rigorous, the serpent began to spit out the deadly venom that would destroy the earth. Lord Shiva immediately took it and drank the poison to save the universe from the ill-effects on it landing on earth.
This act of the lord worried Goddess Parvati who immediately held His throat so that He would not swallow it. At the same time, Lord Vishnu closed Shiva’s mouth to prevent Him from spitting it. This turned His throat to a blue colour because of the poison and He came to be known as Neelkanth. Masik Shivaratri is celebrated to honour Lord Shiva for this noble act.
It is also believed that Masik Shivaratri is the day when Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. This day marks the union of the two deities. There is a third belief that Shiva personified Himself as one of the shiva lingas among the dozen jyotirlingas in the country on the occasion of Masik Shivaratri.
Masik Shivratri Rituals
One of the main rituals of Masik Shivratri is observing a fast with utmost devotion. Devotees take bath in the evening and perform a Shiva pooja at night. They break the fast the following day. Some followers who are not able to undertake a fast for such a long period break the vrat after the pooja and a visit to a nearby Shiva temple if possible. The fast is believed to help the devotee gain control over his rajas guna or passionate activities and tamas guna or quality of inertia.
At home, devotees must wake up early in the morning and take a bath before sunrise followed by wearing clean clothes. The Shiva pooja is performed by worshipping a Shiva lingam or an idol of the lord in a clean area. They perform abhisheka for the linga or the idol by bathing it with holy water, rose water, honey, milk, ghee and curd. Vibhuti and turmeric powder can also be used for the abhishekam. It is said that when devotees bathe the lord with milk or Ganga jal on this day, they get relief from all their troubles. Worshippers light incense sticks and diyas in front of the idol or linga. They also make several offerings like bel leaves, coconut and fruits to their favourite deity.
Devotees apply vibhuti on their foreheads and chant several mantras like the Om Namo Shivaya mantra and Maha Mrityunjay mantra on this day. The Om Namo Shivaya mantra helps its chanters seek liberation from the sins committed by them and abstain from all worldly pleasures and desires.
They also recite Shiva Chalisa and Shiv ji ki arti on the occasion of Masik Shivratri. It is a customary practice to feed brahmins on this day if possible. Worshippers also offer their obeisance to Goddess Parvati during the Masik Shivratri pooja. The fast is broken by consuming milk products, dry fruits or fruits.
Benefits of Masik Shivratri Pooja and Vrat
Devotees are of the belief that they will be bestowed with never-ending blessings of the lord. The pooja and vrat also enable them to overcome the fear of death and win over their enemies while keeping them away from evil spirits at the same time. It is also said that those who perform the pooja and undertake the vrat seek relief from illnesses and be blessed with professional success, growth in their career as well as family welfare. They are also bestowed with the path to moksha, inner peace, and wisdom. Followers will also be able to accomplish most difficult tasks if the fast is undertaken with full sincerity.
Unmarried women observe a fast on this day to find an ideal life partner like Lord Shiva. Married women undertake the vrat for the welfare and good health of their husbands and sons.
Written by - Deepthi K